District: Asbestos believed to be inside 14 of 18 Putnam County schools

Parent worried warning from school district may get overlooked

By Maggie Lorenz - Multi-media journalist

PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. - As children in Putnam County get ready to head back to school, a form sent home has some parents concerned for their children's health. 

In a letter to parents, the Putnam County School District asks for a signature acknowledgement that there are asbestos-containing building materials located throughout the school district. The letter didn't say where, only that more information could be obtained from the facilities department. 

The school district told News4Jax on Friday that 14 of the district's 18 schools have or potentially have asbestos inside. 

List of the 14 schools in the Putnam County School District that have or are assumed to have asbestos-containing materials in them:

  • Crescent City High School
  • Middleton Burney Elementary
  • Miller Middle School
  • C.L. Overturf 6th Grade Center
  • James A. Long Elementary 
  • Jenkins Middle School
  • Mellon Elementary
  • Moseley Elementary 
  • Palatka High School
  • Interlachen High School
  • Price Middle School
  • E.H. Miller School
  • Melrose Elementary 
  • Kelley Smith Elementary 

The associate superintendent of support services said the materials -- such as paint and tiles -- are safe as long as they are not cracked or exposed.

But Christine Reed, whose children attend Putnam County schools, said she's worried the warning may get overlooked because the asbestos acknowledgment was tacked onto the back and very bottom of a completely different form talking about internet permission and photo releases. 

"The fact that the front page is an artist release and internet permission and then you have these big bold red letters that say only complete the form if you do not want your child participating, I find it extremely concerning because I wonder how many parents actually received this and I'm sure a number of them didn't receive their own," she said.

She said she worries about the health impacts this could have on students.

"The fact that this is possibly in our schools with very young children. They breathe faster than us. They get their heartrates up. They're down closer to the floor," Reed said. "That is potentially a very frightening thing."

The school district told News4Jax that it printed the acknowledgment on the back of another form to save paper, and that all students should have received it. 

The school district also said it has a state-certified inspector go around schools twice a year to check levels. 

Copyright 2019 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.